To realise your vision, overcome obstacles and make the most of opportunities you may need to reach out for several helping hands along the way.
The first step in working out who can help you is to spot who is there in the first place. As you go through your life you will meet all sorts of people from different aspects of your life e.g. working learning playing and giving who can support you, and over the years as you experience more and more things this group of people expands.
Usually starting life within your family and then getting a few close friends who may share similar interests with you, this group of people could be categorised as your Playing network.
You will then probably begin to meet a new set of people through your Learning as you start school and go on to further education meeting other students, wider friends and teachers. This then may go on to Giving where you are spending time volunteering or involved in community groups and then on to Working, meeting employers and work colleagues.
Now take a look at the diagram My support network and using the prompts on it, take a separate piece of paper and make a note of all the people who could help you on your journey from each of the different categories. Remember this is not a numbers game with the winner being the person who has the most people listed. It is much more about the quality of relationships.
My support network
My network plan
The people you have named in your Support Network will all offer different levels or ‘circles’ of support – core, supporters and wider community.
The Core group consists of people who will be there for you all the time, no matter what, you only need to ask them. They may include parents, carers or particularly close friends who are always there to listen to you and will not judge.
Again, there may not be a lot of people here. It is the quality of these relationships that matter not the number of them.
Put a number 1 next to the names of these people. These people make up your core group of support.
Next think about your supporters. These build on those in your core group and are people who care about you and want to help but perhaps are not as freely accessible to you as your core group. It may include your wider group of friends, people you see in some of the clubs or groups you belong to. It may have wider family members, Uncles/Aunts or cousins or teachers, social workers, youth group leaders, employers etc. Again, at the side of these names put a number 2 as these people are in your supporter’s group.
Finally, the remaining names on your list are the number 3’s and are part of your wider community. These may be people you know less well but who could also help you take those next few steps to making your vision a reality. They may be teachers in the school or college you attend but perhaps don’t teach you directly. They may be lecturers at the college you may want to go to or an employer who works in the field you would like to work in or who does the job you would like to do. They may be ex-students who have left your school or college or friends of friends; all these people may still be able to support you with what you want to do next.
All this network of people can provide help and support and you can keep growing it when you meet new people who may help you. The benefit of a dynamic network of support is the quality of the relationships not the quantity. You may know some people who perhaps have a negative or unhealthy influence on you so you may not want them to be part of your network so leave them out, make sure they do not stop your achieving your vision.
Why this session is important
To help individual(s) to:
- Identify who they already have in their support networks to help them realise their vision
- Identify who else is out there to help from wider areas of their lives
- Identify who is in their core, supporters and wider community of their network
What you will need
- Copies of the Reach it Activity for each individual
- Reach It Resources
- 30 minutes dependent on time availability
How to do it
This activity requires the completion of a Golden Ticket that summarises the individual(s) vision. Explain that having created a vision that is meaningful, exciting and important to them, trying to make this happen by themselves can be challenging. Reaching out to others who can provide a helping hand can make the journey towards making the vision a reality easier, quicker and more fun.
There are people around them who they can connect with to help make their vision real and these people come from four different areas of life – working, learning, playing and giving dimensions:
- For many people the core support they may reach out to will be family and close friends – this group can be categorised as the Playing elements of their support network.
- A further group of people that can help will be those known through their Learning network – people they have met through school, further education – other students, wider friends and teachers.
- Anytime that they spend in volunteering or helping others may open a further network of support through their Giving dimension of their lives.
- Finally, any Working they do opens up employers and work colleagues too all of whom can help and support.
Encourage individuals to use the list in My Support Network and write down the names of those people in their lives who they can reach out to. They may not have names under each box which is fine but encourage them to think wider than just the obvious people.
These people all offer different level or circles of support and can be further categorised under Core, Supporters and Wider Community:
- Individuals in the Core are those who will be there to help no matter what. They provide unconditional support and help and may include parents, carers, close friends who do not judge and are always there to listen. Experience shows that there may not be a lot of people here – it is about quality rather than quantity. Against the names they have listed in their support network encourage individuals to put a number 1 at the side of those people they would think of as their Core Supporters.
- The next level in the network are Supporters. They will build on the core group and be there for you but not as unconditionally. It may include wider friends/family, teachers, club leaders etc. Again, encourage individuals to put a number 2 at the side of the people they would think of as their Supporters.
- The remaining people named in their support network are number 3’s – the wider community. These are people known less well but who could help and support them to make their visions real. They could be teachers/ lecturers they know but perhaps don’t teach them directly. An employer who works in the field they would like to work in. Ex students who have left and gone on to do what they would like to do.
Encourage individuals to reflect on the network they have created and identify areas where there is a lot of support and areas that perhaps would benefit from having other people in them. Help individuals to think of who else may be able to support them.
What other questions to ask/points to make
Again, be prepared to share some of your story, if it is appropriate. Explain what your network looks like and how it has developed from the Tuesday of the Week of your Life to where it is now making the point that support networks change all the time with new people joining and others leaving.
Make the point when working with a group that they can all be supporters for one another adding help, encouragement and guidance when needed.
As the session draws to a close discuss:
- What they may have learned, or what has surprised or puzzled them about doing these activities.
- Encourage them to begin to use their networks and reach out to people on them or perhaps add to the network by identifying new people they could reach out to.
- Help them to identify one key action they may wish to take as a result of doing these activities.